QWEST Quality Work Environment Study

Start/End Dates: 2007 - 2010

Investigators: Cummings GG (PI), Spiers J, Laschinger H, Leiter M, Norton P, Midodzi W, Wong CA

Funder: SSHRC

Grant Amount: $147,627

Description: A thriving and healthy nursing workforce is essential to patient safety and achieving positive patient outcomes. Yet with the hospital restructure of the 1990s, the nursing workforce has experienced numerous negative effects to their professional roles, their physical and emotional health and disruption to collaborative relationships with physician. This has left Canadian nurses among the most overworked, stressed, and sick workers who also report a lack of autonomy, fairness, and control over their work as additional sources of dissatisfaction. In the 2000s, the focus in health services has shifted to rebuilding work environments, with attention to redesigning roles of health care providers and delivery of hospital services, and to improving patient safety. Few studies in health services research have examined the complexity of all relationships within the healthcare work environment.

This study will examine the emotional intelligence and leadership practices of first-line managers in three work settings (teaching hospitals, general community hospitals and long-term seniors care centers). An analysis will then be done on the impact of manager leadership on:

  • workplace empowerment
  • nurse perceptions of their worklife quality
  • outcomes at both unit and individual nurse levels.


  1. Examine relationships between leadership of nurse managers and staff nurse perceptions of their worklife quality, and their subsequent influence on outcomes at the unit level (patient safety culture, absenteeism) and for individual nurses (burnout, job satisfaction).
  2. Collect data from first line patient care managers and their nursing staff (registered nurses and licensed practical nurses) across three contextual work settings within one integrated health region (acute care teaching hospitals, general hospitals and long-term care).
  3. Test theoretical models of relationships in the three contextual healthcare settings and determine similarities and differences of the patterns and magnitude of effects across settings.

Four types of knowledge transfer strategies are planned: traditional dissemination; collaboration with decision makers; improving accessibility of research results; and strategic dissemination.


Cowden T, Cummings GG. (2012). Nursing theory and concept development: A theoretical model of clinical nurses' intentions to stay in their current positions. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68 (7): 1646-1657. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05927.x

Brown P, Fraser K, Wong CA, Muise M, Cummings GG. (2012). Factors influencing retention of nurse managers: A systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 21: 459-472. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01352.x

Cowden T, Cummings GG, Profetto-McGrath J.(2011). Leadership practices and staff nurses' intent to stay: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 19: 461-477.

Schalk DMJ, Bijl MLP, Halfens RJG, Hollands L, Cummings GG. (2010). Interventions aimed at improving the nursing work environment: a systematic review. Implementation Science, 5:34.

Brady-Germain P, Cummings GG.(2010). The influence of nursing leadership on nurse performance: A systematic literature review. Journal of Nursing Management, 18: 425-439.

Cummings GG, MacGregor T, Davey M, Lee HP, Wong C, Lo E, Muise M, Stafford E. (2010). Leadership styles and outcome patterns for the nursing workforce and work environments: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47 (3): 363-385.

Bulmer Smith K, Profetto-McGrath J, Cummings GG. (2009). Emotional Intelligence and Nursing: An Integrative Literature Review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46: 1624-1636.

Davey A, Cummings GG, Newburn-Cook C, Lo E. (2009). Predictors of nurse absenteeism in hospitals: A systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 17 : 312-330.

Lee HP, Cummings GG. (2008). Factors influencing job satisfaction of front line nurse managers: A systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 16: 768-783.